Even though Burberry has been leading luxury’s charge into cyberspace — and live Tweeted its runway show — the brand isn’t only about life in the fast lane. For spring, chief creative officer Christopher Bailey slowed down, cracked the history books and paid homage to old-fashioned hand craftsmanship in this polished and vibrant collection. It was filled with hand beading and crocheting, and materials such as wood, raffia and leather.


“It was un-be-lievable,” said Sienna Miller, who was part of a front-row lineup that included Gemma Arterton, Kanye West, Ellie Goulding, Ben Kingsley, Luke and Harry Treadaway, Andy Murray, and Britain’s first lady Samantha Cameron. “I loved the parkas, the knitted leather sleeves, the raffia fringing,” Miller enthused.


The collection was an evolution of the men’s wear Bailey showed in Milan last June, and was filled with piles of printed, jacquard, and embellished outerwear. Trench coats, some with slim lines and others with full skirts, had detachable beaded or crocheted collars, chunky bits of mismatched colored wood, or raffia flourishes. Sexy pencil skirts were fashioned from striped jacquard raffia and stretch cotton basket knit, while parkas had sleeves made from woven leather.


“I was so busy just now staring at every detail and trying to work out was this raffia, was that leather, how did he do that, you know?” said Olivier Theyskens after the show.


Texture and color were major themes, with one sweater a marriage of nubby crosshatch knitting on top and stripes on the bottom. It was paired with a dirndl skirt and wooden necklace. Meanwhile, tufts of raffia, wooden beads, and lozenges of brightly colored wood spilled onto shirt collars and silk dresses. Block-printed skirts took their cue from the sarong. “I wanted the collection to be joyous, happy, upbeat,” said Bailey in the crush of photographers and TV cameras backstage after the show. “I love the contradiction between this idea of artisanal hand skills, things that take time to make — and digital speed. They can co-exist.”

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